HOW TO GO ABOUT IT
In some companies the business strategy will be formally captured in a presentation or some kind of document e.g. a ‘five-year plan’. If such a presentation or document exists, this should provide you with the majority of information that you need.
However, in many companies the strategy will not have been captured formally and may simply reside in the mind of the CEO. If this is the case, you will need to interview the owner/CEO to discover more about the strategy. You can use the Business Strategy template to guide you discussion, and capture notes. The main elements of the template are:
- Strategic goals – provides specific and tangible short-medium term targets that will help the company make progress towards its company vision.
- Markets – provides a broad description of where and to whom the company will try to sell its products and services.
- Products – describes what it is that the company sells, whether this is a physical product or a service.
- Selling points – describes the characteristics of the company’s products and services that it thinks will be particularly appealing for potential customers compared to the offering available from competitors – see the Tips & Tricks section for examples.
The interview with the CEO can also be a good opportunity to validate the desk research that you completed during the PREPARE phase. This can be done by presenting the sustainability hotspots, threats and opportunities that you identified for the value chain. The CEO should be able to confirm if the hotspots, threats and opportunities that you have identified are relevant to the company. This may also lead to discussions about other threats and opportunities that are more specific to the company, which you should make a note of.
After the interview, you may wish to send a copy of the completed Business Strategy template to the CEO to check that you have understood the business strategy correctly.